Foods You Love To Eat, But Are A Pain To Make

I just made Moussaka yesterday, a great Greek specialty and Joy Of Cooking (hardbound edition only) has a fantastic recipe I have been using for years.

It tastes great, but it took me about 4 hours to make it.

Every time I make this, I swear I won’t do it again, but it tastes so good - so…by January or February, I will once again forget what a pain it is to make and do it again.

So - do you have any favorite foods that you don’t make often because it is a pain to make?

Tamales. I love them. In my family we have them for Christmas and New Years dinner every year (and other times too of course). But made right they are a complete pain in the ass and take days of labor to put out…and they tend to destroy a kitchen in the making.


Home made gnocchi (sp?).

You know, those littlle potato dumplings you serve with pasta sauce?

Made it once. Was a pain to make, was a bigger pain to clean up, but tasted fantastic.


Boeuf bourguignonne.

There’s nothing like homemade french fries, especially since I learned to fry them properly: once at a lower temp until they’re soft, and then again at 365 degrees to crisp them on the outside. They’re a royal pain to do this way, but it’s the only way to do them perfectly. I try not to make them too often, because it’s impossible to keep from eating way too many. The trouble factor and the mess factor keep me from making them more than two or three times a year.

Baklava. Those Greeks must have more free time than I do.

Macaroni and cheese.

Okay, so I’m really, really lazy. Sue me.

Pan con pavo. An awful lot of prep needed here, and toasting of stuff, and grinding of said stuff, and rubbing stuff into the turkey, and so on.


I make a veggie lasagna that everyone loves, but I don’t make it too often. It takes a long time to make, dirties too many dishes, and makes a mess of the entire kitchen. When I do make it, certain conditions must be present:

  1. I have the day off from any other responsibilities, and nothing that I really wanted to do is scheduled for that day;

  2. Nobody else can be home, because:

  3. I have to be able to turn the stereo up as loud as I want, on whatever music I desire, and to sing along as loudly as I feel like singing;

  4. There must be sufficient available tasty adult beverages.

I don’t think those are too hard to make. Much easier than ravioli or tortellinis.

Artichokes, on the other hand, are a pain. I’d kill for someone to peel them and remove the chokes so that I could have fried artichokes.

Count me in that category too. I was gonna say: Just about anything. I’m a lazy slug when it comes to cooking. Well, actually, I don’t mind cooking. It is the cleaning up after that I hate.

Now I made ravioli once and I didn’t think it was nearly as hard. Also, I didn’t have nearly the mess to clean up afterward.

Coq au vin, two days of marinating, peeling, choping, browning, flambeing, and simmering for the best meal that dirties every utensil I own. I may have to make it next weekend, thanks.

I like making ravioli. It isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming.

My pain-in-the-ass category is anything that requires true deep frying. I love me batter-fried fish, and fried chicken, and stuff of that ilk, but dealing with a large quantity of hot oil is a pretty big deal in my modest kitchen. Pan-fried chicken is good, but it isn’t as good, y’know?

Fresh Pasta, kneaded by hand, rolled, cut, dried and then cooked.

Chocolate Mousse (although I’ve managed to streamline this process down to about 20 minutes when I’m in a hurry)

Lasagna from scratch - all the effort of making fresh pasta + 2 different pasta sauces

Chinese dumplings

Hear, hear.

I’ve only made them a couple times, they were damn good, but holy fuck it takes forever to get a tiny little bit of filling into some three dozen little wonton wrappers.

Another thing I love to eat, not always to make, is twice baked potatoes. When I stop to think about it, it’s not really that hard, but I once had to make about forty of them to feed a group of twenty fraternity guys, and it was non-stop work, especially when I’m also trying to make some roast beef, too.

Another vote for lasagna. The dish I make that takes the most time is smoked brisket. A 12 lb packer-cut brisket takes about 8-10 hours in my smoker. The hit of the party, but a real time-suck. I have to tend the fire and smoke all day, drinking beer and shooting the shit instead of helping out in the kitchen, vacuuming the rugs, dusting everything in sight, etc. It’s a heavy burden, but one I bear without malice or complaint. :smiley:

Chile Rellenos - another deep-fried treat. I like mine stuffed with chihuahua cheese and corn kernels. But you’ve got to roast the poblanos, peel off the skin being careful not to split the chile, cut the kernels off the corn, grate the cheese, stuff the chiles, make the batter, then fry them up. And since they’re such a pain in the ass to make, you don’t want to make one or two, you want to make ten or twelve, and invite a bunch of people over for margaritas and chiles. God, what a mess! But they are SO good!

You didn’t even mention milking the chihuahuas!

Yorkshire pudding. I know you’re supposed to be able to make it by just leaving the pan underneath roasting beef to catch the drippings, but that never works.
Cheesecake. I LOVES me some fluffy NYC cheesecake, but I can only make a dense, eggy cheesecake.
Come to think about it, I’m turning this thread into “Foods I love to eat, but can’t make quite right.”